Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New IT Ordinance Approved

The city took a step closer Monday to its much-discussed goal of having an information technology division with City Council approval of a new salary range for the lead person.

The salary ordinance for a “Manager 1 of Information Processing” now carries a range of $70,000 to $110,000, down $20,000 from a previous ordinance that never saw final passage. The measure passed on first reading Monday and will be up for second reading and final passage on Sept. 14.

City Administrator Marc Dashield said a recent phone outage at City Hall was not the reason for bringing back the ordinance, noting he had made a presentation on the need months ago. The city converted to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system that failed for nearly a week.

Speakers Monday objected to the vote for several reasons, one being the appearance of the ordinance as a new item without having been discussed at the Aug. 10 agenda-fixing session. Another concern was that the IT director was being proposed before parameters were set for a new IT division.

Dr. Harold Yood agreed on the need for a director, but said the division should be created first. Dashield said the ordinance was “not reactive” and so did Councilwoman Annie McWilliams, a member of the council’s Information technology subcommittee.

“The administration and council have found common ground on something that will work for the city,” McWilliams said.

City Council President Rashid Burney, also a member of the IT committee, said the new ordinance was just the latest version of proposed legislation going back to May.

“At this point, I am comfortable with this,” he said.

The administration had pushed for passage of the previous ordinance within the budget year that ended June 30. Dashield said Monday the full cost of an IT division could run to $250,000. The administration plans to combine its present communications functions, including operation of the local TV channel, under the IT director.

Resident Jeanette Criscione said she didn’t think communications should go under IT, as a different “skill set” was involved, but said she “thrilled” that the city was moving forward with information technology.

Resident Gayle Jones asked how the proposed division would relate to a newly-formed citizens’ IT committee.

“It doesn’t,” Burney said, calling the 10-member citizens’ IT group a “review committee.”

Burney said the IT committee could have as many as 14 people and invited anyone interested to apply.

Last year, the council had a citizens’ budget advisory committee. A new one has 11 members to review the FY 2010 budget for the fiscal year that began July 1. In addition, the council approved formation of a 15-member economic growth committee. Members are Andrea Kee, Cleveland Burton Jr., Marie Pase, Joylette Mills-Ransome, Vivette Abdel-Montes, William Hetfield, Jeffery Dunn, Peter Faynzilberg, Shanda Laws, Thomas Glynn, Sean Hendriques, John Vignoe, Franklin Madison, Dr. Harold Yood and Natasha Boone.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous T R Reed said...

About time they got this rolling. We need a better IT infrastructure, and I applaud the Council and admin in agreeing to move on this one.

7:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did not know who was on the economic committee. It is an impressive group. I feel better about Plainfield already.

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bernice, What about the transit study that Councilman Storch mentioned?

9:11 AM  
Blogger Bernice said...

The City Council passed a resolution to apply for $80,000 in UEZ funds for the transit study. I will post later and I'm sure others will do so as well. I found the meeting somewhat exhausting and could only file one story.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The transit study is flushing more money down the toilet. Look around. Speak to the surrounding "train linked" communities. Go to New Brunswick and Morristown and see what is going on there. Our own "city planners" should aready have a plan in place. Oh, I forgot, this is plainfield!

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:37 is right. The transit vilage study is a study in wasting money. We have already done all the visioning we need. We do not need to spend that kind of money. If they are handing out, where is my piece? When does a homeowner get any relief?

Westfield, Cranford did nothing like this. We got sold a bill of good.

But this is Plainfield. We are good at OK taxpayers money.

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the bloggers above, you are incorrect about Westfield. They did a visioning study many years back. The difference is that Westfield had leadership and smart people who forged ahead with the study. Plainfield only has a bunch of people who whine and complain, but have no backbone to change things.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a waste of money I must say - Reid is right on this. First we give away on the abatement, now we are giving away $85K to allow people to dream.

It does not cost that much to have visions of granduer. Plus I understand most of this has already been done by the Planning board. What a waste of hard earned taxpayers money.

7:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Planning board thinks they have a visioning study, but because of the lack of expertise on this discipline, it falls short of what a real visioning study is.

The Planning board's study only takes into account one side of the train tracks. It is not specific, and obviously, since nothing has been done, not actionable.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone presented this to the public? Why the rush? Why the walk-on? How do we know we are going to get our money? Has anyone shown those justifications?

6:27 PM  

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